There's bad news brewing for education reformers in Los Angeles. Later this week, L.A.'s public school teachers will vote on a new contract with the Los Angeles Unified School District. And thanks to the influence of the local teachers union -- United Teachers Los Angeles -- the deal, if approved, will put a three-year moratorium on the district's successful charter school program (this in a district where the graduation rate is a pathetic 56 percent). And we can be sure that the union will push for this provision as a precondition of all future contracts.
Though we didn't need it, this is just further proof that the welfare of Los Angeles children is a secondary consideration when contract time comes. Recent data indicates that all but one of the schools operating under LAUSD's Public School Choice initiative are outperforming conventional public schools. They also fare dramatically better than the union-dominated institutions in performance measures for black students, Hispanic students, and poor students. In short, the charters aren't a threat to anyone who actually matters in the educational process -- students, parents, or capable teachers. They're just a threat to the power of public-sector unions.